Friday, February 15, 2013

The Never Ending Quest

In the early 2000's we started doing research. One of the pieces of information that we wanted to find was the names of one of our sets of great-great grandparents. We found the year of death of our great grandfather on our cousin's family tree. Using his name and year of death, we ordered a copy of his death certificate from the state of Pennsylvania. We were sure that this would list his parents' names. It did not. The section for parents' names said "don't know." Next we ordered his marriage license application. We expected this to list his parents' names. Unfortunately Philadelphia marriage license applications in 1902 did not list parents' names. We didn't know where to look next. Luckily he had a sister. We found her listed in the online Social Security Death Index. Using the information in the Index, we ordered a copy of her original SS-5 Social Security Application. On this document she wrote her parents' names, including her mother's maiden name. If we had only focused on our direct ancestor we would never have found this information. One family mystery down, a million more to go!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Names Begin to Come to Life

In the 1990's, the internet entered our lives and with it came new opportunities to expand our family tree. We found a few missing family members through the internet. And these family members led to more family members and family tree information. We asked these people the same types of questions we had asked our relatives years earlier. Our tree continued to grow. We were blessed with more and more wonderful family members. The information we received from our family was invaluable, but as scientists, we needed to get more evidence to back up the anecdotal information. Some relatives gave us documents and details, but we still needed to do our own research.